Hillary condemns sexual violence in Congo

A report says Rwandan rebels mass-raped over 150 women and children in July.

Washington: US Secretary of State has expressed her "deep concern" over reports of mass rape of women and children in Congo by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other groups.

"This horrific attack is yet another example of how sexual violence undermines efforts to achieve and maintain stability in areas torn by conflict but striving for peace," Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

Noting that the US has repeatedly condemned the epidemic of sexual violence in conflict zones around the world, Hillary said America will continue to speak out on this issue for those who cannot speak for themselves.

"Less than a year ago, I presided over the UN Security Council session where Resolution 1888 (2009) was unanimously adopted, underscoring the importance of preventing and responding to sexual violence as a tactic of war against civilians," she said.

"Now the international community must build on this action with specific steps to protect local populations against sexual and gender-based violence and bring to justice those who commit such atrocities," Hillary said.

"Sexual violence harms more than its immediate victims. It denies and destroys our common dignity, it shreds the fabric that weaves us together as humans, it endangers families and communities, it erodes social and political stability, and it undermines economic progress.”

“These travesties, committed with impunity against innocent civilians who play no role in armed conflict, hold us all back," she added.

"When I visited the DRC last year, I learned an old proverb -- `No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come`.”

“In the depths of this dark night of suffering and pain, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," Hillary said.

"The United States will do everything we can to work with the UN and the DRC government to hold the perpetrators of these acts accountable, and to create a safe environment for women, girls, and all civilians living in the eastern Congo," the Secretary of State said.